There are new tools available to help students and their families move forward after incarceration.
The U.S. Department of Education announced $5.7 million in new grants on Monday to improve outcomes for those returning from prison, as part of a wider program led by the U.S. Department of Justice. The toolkit provides guidance to educators and those involved in successful reentry programs.
A statement from the Department said the funding will support the establishment and operation of projects that build on existing efforts to help youths who were in the justice system. The statement announced four grantees: Portland (Oregon) Community College, Saint Paul (Minnesota) Public Schools, Shelby County (Tennessee) Board of Education, and the School District of Philadelphia.
The announcement also highlighted the need to support students who have an incarcerated parent. There are more than 5 million of them, concentrated mostly in low-income communities of color. These students are at risk of failing in school and face more hardships than their peers.
In making the announcement, Education Secretary John King had roundtable conversations with some of those students:
The Department pointed to a 2013 federal study that said 94 percent of those returning from prison identified education and obtaining new skills as essential. Officials say it’s an effective way to prevent recidivism.
Secretary King released this statement:
“Reentry is a critical moment that requires planning, support and preparation. We need to help ensure formerly incarcerated young people and adults can return to their communities successfully. We need a community working together to provide job training, social and emotional support and a concerted effort to ensure success. Not only is this the right thing to do for families and for children, it also makes smart economic sense for our country.”
The announcement is part of the Obama Administration’s National Reentry Week, which began on April 25. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro traveled to Philadelphia to hold events that included public housing advocates, legal services providers, and community leaders.
SOURCE: Dept. of Education | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter